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rupert . thanks edyou to all our >> jennifer: i'm jennifer granholm. tonight in "the war room," old adversaries continue with their old ways. but can new players change the game? talk of the cease-fire. talk of no cease-fire. a day of muddled messages. a messy situation. talk is good. there will be more of it tomorrow. some of the parties involved we know and know well. others we don't. an egyptian engineering professor and a usc graduate at that wouldld be the key to preventing all-out calamity in the middle east, we would not have believed it and then again neither would he.
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>> jennifer: fierce fighting continued in israel and gaza today while leaders from both sides met in cairo to discuss putting an end to the bloodshed. egyptian president mohamud morsi is overseeing the talks and he has become the central figure in the delicate negotiations. morsi was at his sister's funeral today but he did issue a statement saying israeli aggression would end today. tuesday. at the end of the day the two sides still had not reached agreement. a hamas official told reuters they had come close but the talks "must wait until tomorrow." now this is morsi's real debut on the world stage. he rose from his position as head of the engineering department at a cairo university to become president of egypt last year. it's really an intriguing story. morsi replaced, as you know,
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president hosni mubarak who had been in power for three decades and was one of israel's few allies in the region and morsi ran as the muslim brotherhood's candidate and he promised to implement islamic law. but analysts say that he's not really a true religious fundamentalist. that he had to adopt those positions to fend off competition from islamist extremists. and his background does seem to suggest that he may be more of a moderate. at least he spent eight years in the united states. he's earned a ph.d. in engineering from usc before he joined the faculty at cal state university north ridge. in fact, two of his five children were actually born during that time and those kids are u.s. citizens. but his links to this country certainly are going to be put to the test tomorrow when secretary of state hillary clinton joins the peace talks. she actually landed in tel aviv tonight and she offered strong
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praise for the egyptian president. >> we appreciate president morsi's personal leadership and egypt's efforts thus far. as a regional leader and neighbor, egypt has the opportunity and responsibility to continue playing a crucial and constructive role in this process. >> jennifer: morsi has been in close contact with president obama as well and the two spoke today for the third time in the last 24 hours. but nonetheless this is really going to be a tough balancing act for morsi. on the one hand, egypt needs to keep its good relations with the united states in order to secure the $1.3 billion in military aid that the u.s. gives it each year as well as the additional support it gets from institutions like the world bank. and then on the other hand, morsi is a sunni muslim and he's facing strong calls from egyptians and muslims throughout the region to intervene in gaza.
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they want him to defend the palestinians who they say are being hurt by israel's economic blockade on the region. israel on the other hand says the blockade is the only way to keep military supplies from entering gaza. now, despite the talks of a potential cease-fire, today was actually the deadliest day since the conflict began a week ago. israel launched 100 air strikes on gaza today killing 27 palestinians and that brings the death toll in gaza to 137. and there was even more violence in gaza city where masked hamas gunmen fatally shot six people suspected of giving information to israel and then they tied one of the bodies to a motorcycle and dragged it through the streets. now, on the other side of the border israeli defense forces portedhat 300ococtserer firedfid into their airspace, the israeli airspace from gaza but
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most of those rockets were then destroyed by israel's iron dome security shield that we talked about here last night. five israelis have been killed in the conflict so far. and while israel still hasn't sent ground troops into gaza, get this. 16,000 soldiers are now standing ready at the border of gaza which, of course, makes tomorrow's negotiations all the more critical. so joining me now for prospective on the conflict is hussein ibish a senior fellow at the american task force on palestine. he's coming to us via skype from pompton plains, new jersey. hussein, welcome back inside "the war room." >> thank you governor. >> jennifer: you bet. so what, just to bring people up to speed, what are the palestinians asking for this negotiation? >> well, hamas, to be specific because hamas is not the diplomatic representative. that's the plo but there is this
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division between the west bank and gaza. what hamas wants at this point is pretty clearly is to agree to a cease-fire with israel but get advantageous terms regarding the blockade. they want crossings opened. they want certain security area. i think they want a greater control over ingress and egress of their territory and less of a siege on them. they're negotiating with israel on those terms but they're negotiating through morsi and egypt as you mentioned. so they're kind of trying to convince the egyptians to pressure also the israelis so they're negotiating with two different parties here. now, the egyptian -- as you also point out very well, do have an interest in maintaining good relations with the united states and i think it goes even deeper than money. it is really about egypt's role
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in the region. and also has a relationship with israel. it is crucial to its security, the peace treaty and what not. but at the same time, ideological speaking, i think both in terms of public opinion and morsi's own muslim brotherhood ideology which he definitely does have, they are sympathetic to hamas. they want to get the best terms possible. so for egypt it is a really interesting juggling act in being seen as trying to do the best they can by hamas while also maintaining their role as mediator and while also maintaining friendly relations with the united states and working relations with israel. it is quite a juggling act. >> jennifer: it is. hussein, i'm so fas nated by the role of hamas because the palestinian authority seems to have very much a diminished role. and hamas, it has certainly had a history of calling for the destruction of israel and hamas
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has these ties to iran which certainly has called for the destruction of israel. so how does this happen? how can you get to yes with all of these competing interests? >> actually, let me stop you for a second. >> jennifer: yes. >> hamas has undergone a transformation. it is not necessarily one for the better. even though you might think so at first. hamas' primary patrons for most of the past decade were syria and iran. the leadership was damascus. that got totally destroyed because hamas is part of the broader muslim brotherhood network in the middle east as morsi is one of the leaders of the egyptian muslim brotherhood so hamas the palestinian brotherhood and the muslim brotherhood in syria is the single biggest group in the political if not military opposition to assets so the relationship between hamas and
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syria is destroyed. the relationship between hamas and iran barely exists. iran does have ties to other smaller militant groups in gaza. >> jennifer: hussein are you saying -- >> does maintain some relations with hamas but they're not close. you're absolutely right though to point out that what all of this is doing to the p.a., the palestinian authority and the plo, western friendly and interested in peace agreement with israel, not interested in a fight to the death or armed struggle. they essentially have gotten into a very huge pickle over the past year because a year ago they went to the u.n. and asked for membership and the embassy security council said no. we threatened to veto. it wasn't necessary. that basically badly damaged the p.a.'s relationship with its donor base. with the united states and with
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the eu. and they're receiving very little aid. they're not able to do their institution building program projects they're not able to meet payroll. they paid public employees both in the west bank and they can't even pay people. at the same time hamas has gone to this leadership transition where the external leaders losing their base in syria and iran have diminished in power. internal leaders have pushed the arms struggle business, confronting israel is part of the case for saying we are the leadership of gaza. not you guys outside. we who rule and we fight and that's what really i think got a lot of this going again. now, all that comes -- of authority that's broke. that's been turned away from the u.n. and sort of has negotiations with israel that are in the -- so we've gotten in a weird
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situation where our friends our allies and people who share our values, at least to some extent are suffering greatly because of our policies whereas they seem to be playing perfectly into the hands of hamas. that i think is something that the europeans and especially the united states and even the israelis have to look at very carefully after the dust settles because if we continue the way we've been going for the next year or two we will be actively and consciously deciding we prefer to deal with hamas than with people like mahmoud abbas and that's crazy. >> jennifer: oh, man. so fascinating. i really appreciate the perspective on the ground and we're going to turn now to a different view of the gaza conflict. we're going to head to ann arbor, michigan and juan cole a mideastern scholar at the university of michigan. juan thanks so much for being here in "the war room." i hope you were listening to that conversation with hussein.
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were you able to hear it? >> yes, i was. >> jennifer: great. so from your perspective inside of gaza, i want to get at -- so the people see how has the economic blockade impacted palestinians on the ground? >> well, the israeli economic blockade is devastating to the gaza economy. the people in gaza, the palestinians in gaza are not able to export most of what they produce. whether agriculture or handy crafts or whatever. they can't get it out of the country. and so their own market and that's it. it has driven people into poverty. it has created about 56% of palestinians in gaza are food insecure. they're not starving to death. there's not a lot of --
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malnutrition. it is not clear to me why the israeli -- that should be about bringing in weapons. to send out their goods. >> jennifer: so juan, you heard hussein's description of the challenge with hamas palestinian authority. what can be done at these peace talks or at the cease-fire talks to make sure that the palestinian authority is perhaps elevated or should they? >> well, it would be a good thing for the palestinians if they could bury the hatchet amongst themselves. i think the government of hosni mubarak and egypt connived at dividing them and the is
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israelis as well. and the americans as well. i think the palestinians are foolish to allow themselves to be divided and ruled. it is not impossible that one of the outcomes of this crisis and of general realignments in the region may be that hamas is moderated and finds a way back into an alliance with the plo. morsi would want that, for instance, the president of egypt. and now that hamas has broken with damascus and is gravitating toward egypt egypt is the really big player here. it has several interests. it doesn't want to become responsible for gaza. it doesn't want the israelis to bomb cairo when a bomb comes from gaza but it would like to mediate an end to this crisis. >> jennifer: hussein said that he -- if i heard him correctly that iran and hamas, their ties were not as strong as many
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believe in terms of the weapons that are being supplied to hamas. is that your understanding as well? >> well, there had been a relationship between iran and hamas but what hussein was correctly saying was that hamas was in a position of supporting the iranians and the government in syria or of supporting the revolutionaries in syria who -- one large component of which is the muslim brotherhood. so most in hamas have now chosen the muslim brotherhood which means that they have broken with iran and with syria and they've instead oriented themselves toward egypt. so this is a big deal. there were a few iranian munitions that had been smuggled into gaza but most of the -- arsenal of little homemade rockets that they have that they bombard nearby israeli cities with mostly ineffectually are
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homemade. >> jennifer: okay. so mohammed morsi the egyptian president has emerged as you have identified, as we have, too, as the central figure in these talks. do you think that role, that elevation diminishes the u.s.'s role in middle east peace negotiations? and is that a good thing? >> well, i don't think it diminishes the u.s. role because egypt under morsi and israel under netanyahu are really far apart. so they do need a mediator. the united states is viewed in the region as not a reliable mediator. as being way too pro israeli but to the extent that the united states can lubricate things and i mean hillary clinton now is acting as an intermediary between israel and egypt and carrying messages back and forth the way kissinger used to carry messages back and forth between
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sidot and baggen. the u.s. has a prominent role. the terms on which this crisis might end are ones that will be negotiated between egypt and israel. i think what israel wants is similar to what it got in 2006 when it had the war with lebanon. after that, hezbollah stopped hitting israel with rockets. and i think netanyahu is up for election in january. this is a little bit wag the dog. he's provoked this crisis to some extent in order to try to get a favorable settlement so that he can go to the electorate and say see i'm the one who stopped the rockets. >> jennifer: israel would say that the continual bombing was the provocative move and that they're acting defensively for their people. what happens if, in fact, israel decides to move the 16,000 troops to a ground war? do you think that actually would happen or is it really truly a
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show? >> oh, i think it is entirely possible that netanyahu will decide he wants to invade. i don't believe that the israelis can accomplish their war aims by invading. that is to say gaza is not penetrable by israel and they cannot, in fact, stop all of those little homemade rockets from coming out in this way because even hamas, you know, has been cooperating with israel in the past few months and trying to stop the rockets. there was a truce. and israel in september i remember seeing headline where israel complimented hamas on the help it was offering so i really don't think those rockets which are long-standing issue can possibly explain why this crisis broke out at this time. i think it is about israeli electoral politics. it was something killed by those rockets. >> jennifer: juan cole, thank you very much. >> until the outbreak of this
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war. >> jennifer: until the outbreak of this current conflict. juan, thank you for joining us. go blue. juan cole from the university of michigan. coming up, walmart calls black friday its super bowl. but is the game rigged? a walmart employee tells us why she plans to spend the day on the picket line. plus, it's rule number 28 for politicians. never trust your future to a guy named grover. why mr. norquist and his infamous pledge may be up
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>> republicans won't raise your taxes. we haven't had a republican vote for an income tax increase since 1990. >> and this was your doing. >> i helped. yeah. >> jennifer: that is grover norquist. gloating. president of americans for tax reform. of course, one of the most successful lobbying organizations in washington d.c. according to grover norquist 219 house members and 39 senators have signed americans for tax reform's no new taxes pledge. grover norquist's pledge. but now with the fiscal cliff looming, lawmakers who were once staunchly against raising revenues seem to be changing their tone a little bit. and grover norquist's influence may be fading fast. >> fewer and fewer people are
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signing this pledge. >> the pledge is dead. >> i'm not saying it's dead but i am saying the majority of members of congress see the fiscal cliff we want to sit down and we want to get something worked out. >> if you appropriate some of the money you achieved by eliminating deductions and loopholes to the national debt, even though that may technically violate the pledge, sign me up. that's a reasonable accommodation for a republican to make. >> jennifer: for the record, that was senators john mccain and lindsey graham so the question is this grover norquist's last stand? here with an answer is donnie fowler. donnie of course, democratic strategist and great political operative. welcome back into "the war room." is it grover norquist's last stand? >> we can only hope. look, i think republicans should just say sign the pledge for the
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last election. not for this congress. it expired. there's only 39 of the 40 top senators and republicans -- six are freed. let his people go, grover. let your people go. >> jennifer: he ain't going to let them go. all of this is occurring in the context of the fiscal cliff negotiations and what lindsey graham was suggesting was that if you close some of the loopholes and deductions and revenue goes up, that's not raising taxes apparently grover norquist sees it differently but interestingly enough, there is a push then from the left as well and there are unions that have taken out ads to pressure democratic senators not to compromise. >> how do we move our country forward and reduce the deficit? by creating jobs and growing our economy. not by cutting programs that families rely on most. we need senators udall to continue to stand up for us. >> jennifer: do you think that democrats are going to feel as
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pressured by the unions as republicans feel pressured by grover norquist? >> organized labor is the best organized, most effective strongest arm on the left in this country. they are a great ally for the democratic party and so, of course the democrats will feel pressure from labor. they are also going to feel pressure from -- >> jennifer: are they going to compromise? >> we'll find out. the democrats aren't one party in lock step. have conservative democrats liberal democrats. so the unions can't force every democrat to do something. and there's pressure also from the middle. you said pressure from the right. pressure from the left. but there's pressure from the middle. a democratic interest group that has some swaining called third way released polling that said hey, look, the democratic voters for obama want entitlement reform. they're okay with it. >> jennifer: large percentages in fact.
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>> democrats are in civil debate. there is a conversation to have on both sides. >> jennifer: that's very interesting. i think you can get reform that allows for more progressive way of getting money for social security, for example that would be a reform of entitlements but not cutting benefits for people. >> that doesn't allow social security to run out of money in 20 or 30 years. more medicaid. >> jennifer: very quickly then. we were just talking about the middle east and we understand that president obama may be considering putting president clinton over in the middle east to help negotiate the peace talks as opposed to the cease-fire. do you think that's going to happen? >> the clinton tag team. secretary clinton is there. give her a break and send her back in a few weeks after that. >> jennifer: it would be effective. >> very few people carry as much stature as the two of them.
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often has played the role to north korea. >> jennifer: an opportunity now the president has also asked a number of members of his cabinet to stay on longer. i don't know if secretary clinton is willing to do that but apparently has asked eric holder to stay on longer because he doesn't want to see a mass exodus. do you think she will stay? >> no. need to stop this war. >> jennifer: democratic strategist donnie fowler. coming up, for years they lived in the shadows whispering words like infusion and compromise. but alas, there finally appears to be hope for long lost g.o.p.currenttv
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The War Room With Jennifer Granholm
Current November 20, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

News/Business. (2012) (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Israel 27, Grover Norquist 8, United States 7, Syria 7, Egypt 7, Clinton 5, Hamas 4, U.s. 4, Us 3, Morsi 3, Juan Cole 3, Cairo 3, Michigan 3, Donnie Fowler 2, Lindsey Graham 2, U.n. 2, Damascus 2, Hussein 2, Iran 2, Usc 2
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